Shanahan says Mitchell type of RB that can 'last' in NFL


The 49ers appear to have hit a home run with rookie running back Elijah Mitchell. 

Taken by San Francisco in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, Mitchell quickly established himself as the 49ers' starting running back after veteran Raheem Mostert's season-ending injury in Week 1 against the Detriot Lions. 

That was never supposed to be the case after the 49ers spent a third-round pick on Ohio State running back Trey Sermon three rounds before selecting Mitchell. 

When Sermon was not active Week 1, it became clear that Mitchell had leapfrogged the highly-touted back. The 49ers handed the keys to their sixth-rounder, and never looked back. 

After a monster game on the ground in the 49ers' Week 12 win over the Minnesota Vikings, Mitchell (27 carries, 133 rushing yards, TD) earned high praise from his teammates and coach Kyle Shanahan. 

“It shows that he has the ability to be a true NFL running back," Shanahan said Monday of Mitchell's ability to play through injury after missing the 49ers' Week 11 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"That's what's so hard about that position at any level, especially at this level. Guys hit hard, it takes a lot out of guys, but he's a dude who doesn't act like he feels that on gameday. He plays through that stuff. He plays hard. He makes them keep bringing it. I feel like he gets stronger as the game goes. And those are the type of guys that last.”


In just eight games this season, Mitchell has rushed for 693 yards on 143 carries (4.8 Y/A) with four touchdowns. Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (708) is the only rookie with more rushing yards on the season. 

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Mitchell's 801 all-purpose yards have him ranked third among rookies at all skill positions, behind Harris (1,059 all-purpose yards) and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (921 all-purpose yards). 

Both Harris and Chase were first-round draft picks. 

Once again, the 49ers hit a home run with Elijah Mitchell. 

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